Drifting in the Surreals

The past few days have been odd.  It’s the time of year when the veil between Worlds grows thin, and elements bleed from one side to the other.  But, Death and Change are thick like burning leaves in the air—and I’m still coughing.

I saw my psychiatrist for the first time in several months.  Just a check-in.  She seemed at loose ends, since I’m not on medication and not clamoring for some kind of relief.  She asked lots of questions about how I manage my illness, praised my blog, then asked if I wanted to come back “in six months, twelve months, or never.”  We decided it was best to come back in a year, that way I’d still be on the books “just in case” (I’m big on safety nets).  But, how weird to be officially on my own.  My shrink can’t help me.  My therapist can’t help me.  I’m scouting new frontiers in bipolarism, with no “experts” to refer to or fall back on.  It’s exciting and scary.

Then, the father of a dear friend passed away, which is a weird juxtaposition since our family is waiting for my dad to do the same.  She’s home from Minnesota, tending to the funeral details.  I find I’m mentally taking notes, because I’ll be doing the same things soon.  She came over for a while last night, a chance to talk without worrying about her mom or siblings.  Everything she said could have come out of my mouth, every emotion from my own heart.  How odd and beautiful to have a close friend traveling this path with me.  It’s like an echo of my own voice coming out of the mist.

And we hover in this strange holding pattern with my dad.  Every day he fails a little more—now using oxygen, now confined to bed.  He still knows us all, but gets confused—a combination of morphine and kidney failure.  Some days it seems disrespectful to talk about his funeral arrangements.  Other days it seems proper to get those details out in the open and checked off our invisible list.  Some days we feel lifted when he eats a few bites of oatmeal.  Other days, we wish the aides would just let him rest.

This is the dance we weave between the Worlds—one step back into the past, one step forward into the future, then a shuffle-rest in the present.  I find that when I’m with Dad, I’m really with him—not thinking about our past or his future, but touching his swollen hand, listening to his weak words, looking into his pale eyes.  It’s very restful there with him, just waiting and being present.  Around me, the situations and events of the past few days swirl in surreal colors.  But sitting next to Dad, things seem quite clear.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 09:03:34

    Stunning writing here, Sandy. Really lovely and surreal–this notion of floating between worlds. Your words take me to that place. I feel fed.


  2. Kitty
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 10:09:34

    I’m so touched by this… “Around me, the situations and events of the past few days swirl in surreal colors. But sitting next to Dad, things seem quite clear.”
    So much can be learned by this great teacher, death… the one who teaches us so much about life. In the earlier part of your transmission you spoke of being “on you own” and about not knowing how to do this. It’s nice that, even when we’re scared, we can know we have people who love us and support us, even if they don’t understand the details of what we’re going through. And isn’t this exactly where your Dad is right now. So you sit next to him and honor him by not letting the past or the future rob you of the time in the present.
    We go through little deaths and births throughout our lives… Something ends and something else begins… and it is exciting and scary. What we call death is the birth of the next great adventure. When we remember that it all happens in a moment… and when we honor that moment by really showing up… I guess that’s the most we can do. And I’ve gotta think that really showing up makes everything flow a little easier.


  3. pegoleg
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 11:55:21

    Your first comments about the veil between worlds made me think this was going to be a Halloween tribute. But the worlds you describe are so much more real, and beautiful and painful. I so admire your ability to be in the moment (excuse the psychobabble) and give peace and comfort to your dad.

    This is the hand writing on the wall for my dad; still living on his own and getting around, but with 19% kidney function and congestive heart failure gaining on him. I hope I can be this strong when our time comes.


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